DRGW History and Information  

  Trip Report: Train Festival 2011 - Chapter 1
  Mon-Tues, Jul 18-19
Traveling home and the Nebraska Zephyr ferry move
  From: Train Festival 2011 Dates: Jul 19-24, 2011 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
On the way over, I came into Iowa via US 30 and Missouri Valley. I wanted to get a look at UP's latest double tracking efforts between Fremont and the Missouri River, and see how much they'd raised the grade through town to keep the rails above water. Here's one of the farms south of town, completely surrounded by the river.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 2
Another flooded road south of Missouri Valley on the drive to Council Bluffs.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592
  Report Chapters  
   1 - Mon-Tues, Jul 18-19
   2 - Wed, Jul 20
   3 - Thu, Jul 21
   4 - Fri-Sat, Jul 22-23
   5 - Sun, Jul 24
  Site Navigation  
   Back to Trip Reports Index
   Back to DRGW.Net

Photo 3
It's things like this sign that are part of why I'm proud to be an Iowan, even if in exile for the last decade. Despite the months of adversity from the floodwaters, Iowans carry on, work with what they've got, and still have a sense of humor about it. (It's the Pizza Ranch in Missouri Valley, taken from Caseys when I stopped for gas.)
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 4
After seeing some of the flood-affected areas near MoVo, I dropped down to Council Bluffs and picked up Iowa Interstate. Due to the floods, lots of detour traffic has been going via IAIS, but I didn't find anything until this very short westbound at Malcom, IA.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 5
Looking east down the IAIS at the Grinnell M&StL crossing, showing the unique corner depot (now a restaurant). It used to be a pretty good shot from the south side of the track, but they seem to have let the weeds go lately.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 6
The train was all of IAIS ES44AC 504, GP38-2 712, a boxcar, four covered hoppers, and four tanks. I'm not even sure what train this was, but it might have been a stub BICB originating in Silvis. Either way, they're coming over the ex-M&StL diamonds.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 7
On Tuesday, we went out chasing the ferry move of the Nebraska Zephyr from the Illinois Railway Museum down to the Quad Cities. We caught up with it at Davis Junction, IL, going backwards with CB&Q 9255 leading. The odd things they pull passenger trains with these days...
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 8
They'll take the leg of the junction east onto the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern line, pointing E5 9911A westward for the run to Savanna, IL.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 9
After nearly an hour spent getting 9255 back in the consist, they finally get out of Davis Junction. The entire rowdy (and overheated) railfan horde on the overpass falls silent as the Mars light comes around the corner.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 10
The NZ highballs west under Illinois 72, and the chase is on.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 11
They made good time on the high iron, but we caught up with them again just outside Leaf River. Whoever at the Illinois Railway Museum thought to put a GPS tracker onboard is an absolute genius. It helped immensely throughout the chase.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 12
Burnin' up the rails through Adeline
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 13
We were all waiting outside Forreston for a good run-by when 9911A crested the hill and just stopped with the red nose light on. Uh oh, that's not good...
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 2160x1440

Photo 14
This was the initial culprit - a signal that, likely due to the extreme heat - was telegraphing between clear and restricting every minute or two, and was passing through everything in between.
400x600 640x960
1000x1500 2592x3888

Photo 15
Turns out that the random signal at 108.7 was only part of the problem - the big E was also having overheating issues and the crew wanted to use the stop and proceed as a good excuse to let it cool for a few minutes.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 16
9911's track warrant took them as far as Kittridge, the siding just east of Lanark, IL (the siding is named after a major rail junction northeast of town, where the Milwaukee line to Chicago that we've been following met another Milwaukee line to Beloit and Racine, WI.) Here we would sit for nearly 3 1/2 hours waiting on a five way meet - two east, three west, with the second-to-last westbound being the Nebraska Zephyr. Here's the second eastbound - CITX 3008, 3071, and 2792 with an empty ethanol.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 17
After the eastbounds cleared up, the first westbound headed out of the hole at Kittredge to make its way to Savanna. Power is CSXT 5419 and Soo 6046, with an empty ethanol in tow.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 18
Rule of afternoon midwestern railfanning - when your train shows up, the light goes away. It's now 1830h, and the NZ is just leaving Kittredge.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 19
At least in low light and low speeds, you can try for interesting contrasts.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 20
Thirty seconds of evening storm light as 9911A comes around the corner through Mt Carroll, IL. It also gave me just enough curvature to hide the other two engines.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 21
The shot many of us wanted was coming off the Mississippi River swing bridge into Sabula, IA, and so there was quite a lineup on the levee to catch CSXT 5419 and its empty ethanol train coming through first. Then those fated words came over the radio, "9911A is tying down in Savanna." Quick - it's a mad rush back to the cars and back to Illinois!
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 22
But first, have to get the Soo SD60. I grew up around here and saw these running when they were brand new. I do miss solid sets of Soo Line power.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 23
Is there any debate where we are?
400x600 640x960
1000x1500 2592x3888

Photo 24
Pulled up along CP 9558 at the East Savanna control point.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 25
A comparison of the nose profiles, along with a look at the RCMP Musical Ride logos on 9558's cab side.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592

Photo 26
One last shot - NZ lounge/tail car "Juno" at Mt. Carroll.
600x400 960x640
1500x1000 3888x2592
[<< Previous]   Chapter 1   [Next >>]
Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2011 by Nathan D. Holmes, with some photos copyright Dan Holmes (where indicated) (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III or 7D using either a Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS/USM, Sigma 18-50mm, or a Canon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS/USM.